This dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas includes:
Death Song: Liz is in love with Joe, but the monster of the lake has other plans for them.
Black Dog: Scarlet is engaged in a struggle for her sanity, but according to the voice in her head, she may be too late.
A Blue Story: When Katherine’s beloved dog goes missing, she fears her strange new neighbor might be involved.
Dust Bunnies: Christiane faces her childhood arachnophobia and ends up confronting even greater fears in this test of sisterhood.
We Left at Night: Brooke and her family must abandon their home and their lives to make it out of a disease-plagued town overrun by zombies.
Girls & Monsters is for everyone who has ever been brave enough to confront their childhood fears…and lived to tell about it.
Recently I got to sit down with the author, Anne Michaud and ask her a few questions. Here is what she had to say:
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’m a French Canadian writing in English; I’m super tall and dressed in black; I prefer books and pets to people, in general. Oh, and I get shy talking about myself;)
Girls & Monsters is your newest offering, what prompted you to tell these tales?
I had a bunch of homeless short stories dying slowly in my computer, so I decided to play with their length and add more meat to the bone. Once I finished the third novella, I realized they’d make a great collection, since they shared two main themes: Girls & Monsters.
You have a Master’s degree in Screenwriting. What is your first love? Screenwriting or novel writing?
Honestly, I thought it’d be film-making I’ve always thought that would be my career, but then I quickly realized I much preferred spending time with the people in my head than actors on a set. I still write scripts, but I much prefer novels – it feels more complete, and I have control over the worlds I create and the outcome of it.
You novels and stories are quite dark in nature, what do you use as inspiration for them?
I’ve never believed in fairy tales I never expected some guy to save me from monsters, and the darkness always lured me in more than sunshine and rainbows. I just love dark themes in music and books and movies, so that’s what inspires me: the other side of things, the glass half-empty, the monster under the bed and the spider hiding in the corner of the room.
Many authors use music as inspiration when writing. Does Girls & Monsters have its own soundtrack?
- Death Song: Glosoli by Sigur Ros (Takk, 2005)
Sometimes I like to not understand a word being said whilst be blinded by unbelievably powerful melodies, which is why I do love this Icelandic band so much. Their music is perfect to write to; so moody and beautiful and heartbreaking – it sounds like the sky. Glosoli means ‘glowing soul’, which is perfect for Limnade, my monster eating innocents people from the bottom of her lake.
- A Blue Story: Smothered Hope by Skinny Puppy (Remission, 1984)
I’ve been a fan of this Canadian band for as long as I can remember, their industrial beats and Nivek’s robotic voice was made to write dark horror. Yes, their best work came out in the 80s, but I still find their music timeless, since it was ahead of its time, anyway. Ironically, the singer is an animal rights activist, which only makes sense to mention him for this story where pets aren’t treated as they should.
- Swamp Thing, The Chameleons by UK (Strange Times, 1986)
Writing such a dark piece of mental illness took a lot of courage and dare on my part, which is exactly how I feel when I listen to that song. It breaks me apart every time, whether by its lyrics or gloomy music – it shreds me apart. Of course the song is not about a girl losing her mind in London, but the first time I lived there, that song got me through such rough times in that city… it saved me, sorta.
- Dust Bunnies, Lullaby by The Cure (Disintegration, 1989)
My beloved, my always – Robert Smith is by far my favorite artist, him and whoever’s in the band at the moment. I would die without that album, it is imprinted in my heart and plays every week in my house, even if I can’t write to it. It’s too much, it’s too good, I have to stop and listen to the words I know by heart and the music that runs through my veins. Of course, a story about some huge spider had to be inspired by that amazing song.
- We Left at Night, A warm place by Nine Inch Nails (Downward Spiral, 1994)
Some songs don’t need words to express a tragedy, as this one does brilliantly. Trent Reznor is one hell of a musical genius and I must admit some of my favorite NIN songs are purely instrumental, even if his raging moments do have a special place in my iPod, as well. This song is perfect for a story about uncertain future and forgotten past, about how to let go of everything you know and love for something other, something you need to discover – exactly like the story that ends my collection.
Did you always want to write?
As a kid, I wrote songs and short stories, even considered myself quite the journalist and edited my very own newspaper, with a restricted distribution of 3 copies per issue. I deviated from writing for a long while only to come back at it with such determination, it borderlines insanity.
How often do you write?
Every day. And I mean it: every day.
Can you tell us anything about any new stories you have in the pipelines?
I’m finishing up Girls & Aliens, will start up Girls & Ghosts this summer, then it’s all about my YA dark thriller Killer Girl – I’m so excited about all these projects, I can barely sleep!!
So, what do you do to unwind then?
Read, music, friends, pets, crafting, and writing. I live a simple life.
And, finally, just for fun: Where would you rather spend the night – in a haunted house or with your favourite celebrity?
Or better: spending the night in a haunted house WITH my favorite celebrity, which would mean I’d be talking music with Robert Smith of The Cure in the Queen Elizabeth II. I’d pay with my soul to be able to do that, so if you know people who can make it happen, you know where to find me.
Great answer Anne! Thanks so much for stopping by.
Want to read some of Anne’s work? Well, here’s your chance…
Death Song Excerpt
Something catches in the back of my throat. I
hide my face in my hands to quiet the sobs. But then,
something ain’t right. Air moves around me and I
stop. I look between my fingers, but the blur of my
tears thickens everything: the bathtub, the towels,
and someone on the floor.
A woman’s in here with me, door still closed and
locked. An exhale, like after a deep swim, and a smell,
like the swamp close to my empty home. A chill runs
down my back, I wipe my eyes, rub and scratch them
to see more clearly. And I do.
Two gray hands scratch the floor tiles, nails green
with algae, putrid flesh sagging on her legs, arms
and torso, hair so long and wet and heavy, it drags
her down. Diluted, impossible to focus on, like little
waves rippling over her body from head to foot, seaweed
in the water. Scales and fins, mermaidlike, little
knives, those are. And they scrape the floor, like a
fork on a plate. It’s her—Limnade.
She opens her mouth of scissor-teeth and the rotten
smell of fish wraps around my throat like two
hands trying to choke me.
“You can’t be…” I don’t finish my breathless
thought and jump backward, knocking over the dish
of decorative soaps. Blurry waves, vision impaired,
out of focus, unreal. She crawls toward me, eyes unblinking,
lethal, hands inches from me: my legs refuse
to move, as my body feels like stone. Frozen,
hypnotized, a statue. Then I hear something coming
from within her…
A melody, reminding me of something lost, tickles
my ears. It drags on until the sweetness turns sickly,
vibrating into a full-on super-scream, hyenalike,
enough to pop my ears and make them bleed. Her
large mouth deforms her face into one gap of black,
the cry so high and strident, I scream from the pain.
Limnade stares at me, everything but her fades
away—Jo’s nice bathroom, Jo’s new life, Jo himself—
none of it matters anymore. Her fingers brush my
forehead, they’re cold and sticky like clams. And I let
the darkness take me away.
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About the Author:
She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.
She, who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since.
She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.
She blogs http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com
She Facebooks: http://www.facebook.com/annecmichaud
She tweets @annecmichaud
Buy it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CCQ1Q6W
Girls & Monsters Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17335353-girls-monsters